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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Outline of the Psalms
The Triumph of Faith
Book I. Songs of Deliverance, Psalm 1-41
Book II. The Divine Judgments, Psalm 42-72
Book III. National Hymns of Judah, Psalm 73-89
Book IV. The Over-ruling Kingdom, Psalm 90-106
“The Hebrew Psalms have furnished the bridal hymns, the battle songs, the pilgrim marches, the penitential prayers, and the public praises of every nation of Christendom since Christendom was born.”
“At the time of the Reformation,” says the great expositor Delitzsch, “the Psalter began to diffuse its odors as in the renewed freshness of a May morning.” Von Mueller says that the Psalms can make a life of trial to be a life of joy; while LeFevre calls them “the marrow of lions.”
The Psalter is found in the center of the Bible, and contains the heart of revelation. It is sometimes called “the Bible within the Bible,” because it summarizes what precedes and anticipates what follows. It is the one book of Scripture for which every other book has a marked affinity.
Most of the Psalms are prayers-not merely forms of devotion but the heart utterances of men who could not live without God. All of their experiences-whether unheard-of sufferings or unutterable joy-are viewed in relation to the divine will.
A number of the Psalms are songs which celebrate the history of the Hebrew people. While the leading events are depicted in broad outline, there is also a wealth of detail. About one-third are anonymous; 73 bear the name of David; 24 are attributed to the minstrels of his reign and subsequent singers, some of whom lived in the glorious period of Ezra’s restoration.
There are five books in the collection:
First, Psalms 1:1-6 ; Psalms 2:1-12 ; Psalms 3:1-8 ; Psalms 4:1-8 ; Psalms 5:1-12 ; Psalms 6:1-10 ; Psalms 7:1-17 ; Psalms 8:1-9 ; Psalms 9:1-20 ; Psalms 10:1-18 ; Psalms 11:1-7 ; Psalms 12:1-8 ; Psalms 13:1-6 ; Psalms 14:1-7 ; Psalms 15:1-5 ; Psalms 16:1-11 ; Psalms 17:1-15 ; Psalms 18:1-50 ; Psalms 19:1-14 ; Psalms 20:1-9 ; Psalms 21:1-13 ; Psalms 22:1-31 ; Psalms 23:1-6 ; Psalms 24:1-10 ; Psalms 25:1-22 ; Psalms 26:1-12 ; Psalms 27:1-14 ; Psalms 28:1-9 ; Psalms 29:1-11 ; Psalms 30:1-12 ; Psalms 31:1-24 ; Psalms 32:1-11 ; Psalms 33:1-22 ; Psalms 34:1-22 ; Psalms 35:1-28 ; Psalms 36:1-12 ; Psalms 37:1-40 ; Psalms 38:1-22 ; Psalms 39:1-13 ; Psalms 40:1-17 ; Psalms 41:1-13 ;
Second. Psalms 42:1-11 ; Psalms 43:1-5 ; Psalms 44:1-26 ; Psalms 45:1-17 ; Psalms 46:1-11 ; Psalms 47:1-9 ; Psalms 48:1-14 ; Psalms 49:1-20 ; Psalms 50:1-23 ; Psalms 51:1-19 ; Psalms 52:1-9 ; Psalms 53:1-6 ; Psalms 54:1-7 ; Psalms 55:1-23 ; Psalms 56:1-13 ; Psalms 57:1-11 ; Psalms 58:1-11 ; Psalms 59:1-17 ; Psalms 60:1-12 ; Psalms 61:1-8 ; Psalms 62:1-12 ; Psalms 63:1-11 ; Psalms 64:1-10 ; Psalms 65:1-13 ; Psalms 66:1-20 ; Psalms 67:1-7 ; Psalms 68:1-35 ; Psalms 69:1-36 ; Psalms 70:1-5 ; Psalms 71:1-24 ; Psalms 72:1-20 ;
Third, Psalms 73:1-28 ; Psalms 74:1-23 ; Psalms 75:1-10 ; Psalms 76:1-12 ; Psalms 77:1-20 ; Psalms 78:1-72 ; Psalms 79:1-13 ; Psalms 80:1-19 ; Psalms 81:1-16 ; Psalms 82:1-8 ; Psalms 83:1-18 ; Psalms 84:1-12 ; Psalms 85:1-13 ; Psalms 86:1-17 ; Psalms 87:1-7 ; Psalms 88:1-18 ; Psalms 89:1-52 ;
Fourth, Psalms 90:1-17 ; Psalms 91:1-16 ; Psalms 92:1-15 ; Psalms 93:1-5 ; Psalms 94:1-23 ; Psalms 95:1-11 ; Psalms 96:1-13 ; Psalms 97:1-12 ; Psalms 98:1-9 ; Psalms 99:1-9 ; Psalms 100:1-5 ; Psalms 101:1-8 ; Psalms 102:1-28 ; Psalms 103:1-22 ; Psalms 104:1-35 ; Psalms 105:1-45 ; Psalms 106:1-48 ;
Fifth, Psalms 107:1-43 ; Psalms 108:1-13 ; Psalms 109:1-31 ; Psalms 110:1-7 ; Psalms 111:1-10 ; Psalms 112:1-10 ; Psalms 113:1-9 ; Psalms 114:1-8 ; Psalms 115:1-18 ; Psalms 116:1-19 ; Psalms 117:1-2 ; Psalms 118:1-29 ; Psalms 119:1-176 ; Psalms 120:1-7 ; Psalms 121:1-8 ; Psalms 122:1-9 ; Psalms 123:1-4 ; Psalms 124:1-8 ; Psalms 125:1-5 ; Psalms 126:1-6 ; Psalms 127:1-5 ; Psalms 128:1-6 ; Psalms 129:1-8 ; Psalms 130:1-8 ; Psalms 131:1-3 ; Psalms 132:1-18 ; Psalms 133:1-3 ; Psalms 134:1-3 ; Psalms 135:1-21 ; Psalms 136:1-26 ; Psalms 137:1-9 ; Psalms 138:1-8 ; Psalms 139:1-24 ; Psalms 140:1-13 ; Psalms 141:1-10 ; Psalms 142:1-7 ; Psalms 143:1-12 ; Psalms 144:1-15 ; Psalms 145:1-21 ; Psalms 146:1-10 ; Psalms 147:1-20 ; Psalms 148:1-14 ; Psalms 149:1-9 ; Psalms 150:1-6 .
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Genesis in the Psalms edition
Review Questions on the Psalms
( a ) Into how many books is the Psalter divided?
( b ) What marks the close of each book?
( c ) How may the contents of the various books be characterized?
( d ) From what sources have the Psalms been derived?
( e ) What is the world’s debt to this collection of songs and prayers?
( f ) What is the Psalter sometimes called?
Each question applies to the paragraph of the corresponding number in the Comments.
1. How are the godly and the wicked contrasted?
2. What prophecies regarding Christ are contained in Psalms 2:1-12 ?
3. What verses in Psalms 3:1-8 ; Psalms 4:1-8 are alike?
4. Why do we often fail to receive the answer to our prayers?
5. What were some of the elements in the psalmist’s sorrow?
6. What is the natural penalty that comes to those who seek to injure others?
7. What is man’s place in creation?
8. What is the hope of the righteous?
9. What is the confidence of the oppressor? of the oppressed?
10. What penalty awaits the wicked?
11. What is the character of those who deny God?
12. What is the character of those who acknowledge God? In what terms does Psalms 16:1-11 predict the resurrection of Christ?
13. What is the satisfaction of men of the world? of the righteous?
14. How did the psalmist find God revealed in a storm?
15. How was David raised to power and position?
16. In what two ways has God revealed Himself to men?
17. How does the name of the Lord represent His character?
18. What did the king ask and receive of the Lord?
19. Why are the opening words of the Psalms 22:1-31 memorable?
20. How does the psalmist forecast the crucifixion of Jesus?
21. Why is Psalms 23:1-6 the best known of all the Psalms?
22. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?”
23. Whom will God guide and teach?
24. For what does the psalmist declare his hate? his love?
25. What one thing does the psalmist seek after?
26. Why does God sometimes seem deaf to our prayers?
27. What does the heart of faith hear in the mighty storm?
28. What is the contrast between sorrow and joy?
29. With what prayer of David have many great men of God departed this life?
30. What did the psalmist declare in his haste? How was his error corrected?
31. How is life transformed by forgiveness?
32. How was the world created?
33. Why is God alone worthy of complete confidence?
34. How may we know the goodness of the Lord?
35. What awaits the contrite soul?
36. How are we to explain the psalmist’s attitude toward his enemies?
37. Who are the “quiet in the land”?
38. What is the key to the character of the wicked? What are the great attributes of God?
39. How does the psalmist regard the prosperity of the wicked?
40. What is the psalmist’s testimony concerning God’s care of the righteous?
41. What is the end of the wicked? of the righteous?
42. To what does the psalmist attribute his sufferings?
43. Why does human life appear vain?
44. What does God value above sacrifice?
45. Why does our sense of sin grow with our increasing knowledge of God?
46. With what beatitude does Psalms 41:1-13 begin?
47. What is the reproach of the psalmist’s enemies?
48. What verses in Psalms 43:1-5 are the same as in Psalms 42:1-11 ?
49. What assurances do God’s former deliverances give to us?
50. How is it possible for God’s people to feel forsaken?
51. What verses of Psalms 45:1-17 are applied to Christ?
52. How are our deficiencies an opportunity for God?
53. To whom do the “shields of the earth” belong?
54. Why is Mount Zion the “joy of the whole earth”?
55. Why is it folly to trust in riches?
56. Why are sacrifices alone unavailing with God?
57. What are the two final conditions of a blessed life?
58. When only can God forgive?
59. What are the “sacrifices of God”?
60. What is the trust of the evil man? of the righteous?
61. Of what psalm is Psalms 53:1-6 a repetition? What is the difference between the psalmist and his enemies?
62. How is the psalmist affected by the oppression of the wicked?
63. In what ways was Ahithophel a type of Judas?
64. What can “flesh” do against God’s servants?
65. What makes the songs of the psalmist possible?
66. How is God’s moral government vindicated?
67. Why will God have the nations in derision?
68. What was the psalmist’s consolation in the midst of national defeat?
69. What is the heritage of those who fear God’s name?
70. Why do power and loving-kindness belong to God?
71. Why is God’s loving-kindness better than life?
72. When will the “upright in heart” glory?
73. What do the beauty and order of the world teach us of God?
74. How is God terrible in His dealings with men?
75. When is prayer useless? What is the psalmist’s vision of the progress of faith?
76. For whom has God special care?
77. Why is Zion distinguished above all other mountains?
78. Why was Israel the head of the nations?
79. On what grounds can the sufferer base his plea for salvation?
80. What is more acceptable to God than sacrifice?
81. Of what previous psalm is Psalms 70:1-5 a part?
82. Why was the psalmist “as a wonder unto many”?
83. What is the best occupation for the aged?
84. Of whom is Psalms 72:1-20 a prophecy?
85. How is the conclusion of the second book of Psalms indicated?
86. How was the psalmist affected by the prosperity of the wicked? Where did he find the answer to his problem?
87. Where is the true place to form a right estimate of life?
88. To what degradation was Zion subjected?
89. What hope was there for its restoration?
90. What do we realize in the high moments of life?
91. How can the wrath of man praise God?
92. Why should we give full expression of our grief to God?
93. How may we derive encouragement from the past?
94. How is the knowledge of God’s dealings preserved?
95. How did God deliver His people from Egypt?
96. How did they incur His displeasure in the Wilderness?
97. With what plagues had God smitten the Egyptians?
98. What was the conduct of the Israelites after entering the Promised Land?
99. Why did God forsake the Tabernacle at Shiloh? Whom did He choose to shepherd His people Israel?
100. What conditions prevailed after the fall of Jerusalem?
101. What is the refrain of Psalms 80:1-19 ?
102. To what does the psalmist compare the growth of the Hebrew nation?
103. For what festival was Psalms 81:1-16 written?
104. Why did God allow His people to walk in their own counsels?
105. To whom did God say, “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High”?
106. Who are God’s “hidden ones”?
107. How do God’s people regard His sanctuary?
108. What will God speak to His people?
109. Upon what should we build our prayers?
110. Where are the springs of the true life to be found?
111. What marks Psalms 88:1-18 as the saddest of all the Psalms?
112. What was God’s covenant with David?
113. Upon what was the fulfillment of the covenant conditioned?
114. Why is God said to have made void the covenant?
115. How is Psalms 90:1-17 distinguished from the rest? How is its melancholy strain to be explained?
116. What is the reward of those who make the Most High their habitation?
117. How do the blessings of the righteous exceed the prosperity of the wicked?
118. To whom does vengeance belong?
119. How may we be assured that God knows all that takes place?
120. When is the best time to heed God’s Word?
121. How is God to be revered and honored?
122. How are God’s power and majesty manifested?
123. How will God judge the world?
124. Why is God’s holiness terrible to sinners?
125. What establishes God’s claim to our devotion and gratitude?
126. What were David’s resolutions at the beginning of his reign?
127. What is the most bitter element in affliction?
128. How is God’s unchanging character expressed?
129. How far has God removed our transgressions from us?
130. What is God’s attitude toward those that fear Him?
131. How is God’s care for His creation manifested?
132. What is man’s place in nature?
133. What is “natural law”?
134. When were Psalms 105:1-45 ; Psalms 106:1-48 probably written?
135. What lesson does the psalmist draw from the story of Joseph and the sojourn in Egypt?
136. In what different ways was God’s providence made known in the escape from Egypt?
137. How does Psalms 106:1-48 express God’s attitude toward the ungrateful and the sinful?
138. What early leaders of the nation intervened to save them from destruction?
139. What were some evil results of intermingling with the Canaanite tribes?
140. What peculiarly oriental picture of distress is suggested in the first verses of Psalms 107:1-43 ?
141. How does a voyage at sea, with its storms and tempests, suggest human life?
142. How are the strange contrasts and uncertainties of human life to be explained?
143. In Psalms 108:1-13 what ancient and persistent enemies of Israel are pictured as about to be overthrown?
144. How might we fairly read Psalms 109:1-31 so as to remove the vindictive element?
145. In what respect does this psalm fall short of the Christian ideal? How is this to be explained?
146. Where and how did Jesus use the words of Psalms 110:1-7 ?
147. By whom are the “works of the Lord” sought out?
148. What are some of the sure rewards of faith?
149. What familiar Old Testament story might we associate with Psalms 113:1-9 ? What great event is celebrated in Psalms 114:1-8 ?
150. What contrasts between the heathen gods and Jehovah are brought out by the psalmist?
151. What experience led to the writing of Psalms 116:1-19 ?
152. In what respect is Psalms 117:1-2 unique?
153. How did the Hebrews probably use Psalms 118:1-29 ? What historical associations has it?
154. How was the “rejected stone” used as a parable by Jesus and His followers?
155. What might we substitute for the “word” of Jehovah as used in Psalms 119:1-176 ?
156. What custom shows the Hebrews’ admiration for the teaching of this great psalm? Why does the psalmist’s soul “break” and “melt”?
157. Why do we need to meditate on God’s Word?
158. Name some of the ways in which the psalmist found comfort.
159. What lesson had he learned from affliction?
160. What is our surest test for the truth of God’s Word?
161. Why does the psalmist declare himself wiser than his enemies or teachers?
162. What counsel is here suggested to us when wickedness seems triumphant?
163. How may we explain the humility of the psalmist?
164. How must we pray if we desire to know God’s presence?
165. From what sources does praise spring?
166. What use was probably made of the “Songs of Degrees”? How is God’s “keeping” emphasized in Psalms 121:1-8 ?
167. Why were the pilgrims bidden to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
168. By what figures does the psalmist illustrate his deliverance from threatened destruction? What comforting thought was suggested by the situation of Jerusalem?
169. Why did the return from exile suggest “sowing in tears”? What conditions the success of all undertakings?
170. What blessings attend a godly household? What was the general character of Israel’s history?
171. Why is Israel exhorted, to hope in the Lord? How does the psalmist compare himself to a fretful child?
172. What was God’s great promise to David?
173. With what prayer do the “Songs of Degrees” close?
174. Upon what three reasons does the psalmist base his exhortation to praise God?
175. How does Jehovah differ from idols?
176. What is the refrain of Psalms 136:1-26 ?
177. How is God’s loving-kindness shown in Israel’s history?
178. Why did the exiled Israelites refuse to sing for their captors?
179. What is God’s promise to the lowly?
180. What knowledge does the psalmist declare to be “too wonderful” for him?
181. What does he say of the beginnings of our human life?
182. How shall the violent be overthrown?
183. How does the psalmist receive the reproof of the righteous?
184. What was his prayer when lonely, persecuted, and discouraged?
185. Why did he entreat God not to enter into judgment with him?
186. How is the life of a happy, peaceful people described in Psalms 144:1-15 ?
187. Why is God greatly to be praised?
188. To whom is the Lord nigh?
189. What opening words mark the last five psalms?
190. In whom does the Lord take pleasure?
191. How do the different seasons suggest God’s power?
192. What voices are summoned to join in Creation’s song of praise?
193. How will the Lord “beautify the meek”? Compare the endings of the five books of the Psalter.
the Fifth Week after Easter